A Little Girl Dreams Of Taking The Veil

Before the combination of Photoshop and, this vast repository of source-materials, the internet began spawning what now certainly amount to billions of wry photo-mashups, there was a predecessor which required of its practitioners expert hand-skills and vision and resourcefulness. I’m talking, of course, about collage, and in the days before pixels, indeed before periodicals positively overflowed with photographic imagery, a fellow, without formal training, by the name of Max Ernst took the form to places previously unimagined.

02.24. filed under: art. books. history. people. 11

Last Man Standing

In case you missed the story, a 108 year old man by the name of Harry Richard Landis died on Monday, Feb 4th and with his passing another man, Frank Woodruff Buckles, earned the truly incredible distinction of being the last known surviving American-born veteran of the First World War. Of the 4,734,991 U.S. forces mobilized between 1914 and 1918 Frank Buckles is the last man standing.

02.07. filed under: headlines. history. people. 2

The Emperor of Presumption

History has seen to it that the number of artists we’ve never heard of far outweighs those which we have, and positively dwarfs, like a supercluster to a matchbook, the number which we revere. This is doubtless as it should be since every aimless young person without quantifiable interests or skills seem to eventually shuffle (or be herded) into the arts seeking refuge from reality. From among these ranks of artists destined to be forgotten I bring you the somewhat interesting case of Guglielmo Achille Cavellini, the self-styled “emperor of presumption,” who undertook a determined campaign to be remembered in the annals of art history.

01.27. filed under: art. history. observations. people. 5

The Secret History Of The Revolving Door

The revolving door is most often thought of today, if at all, in connection to the various forms of workplace-related dread it has come to be associated with. As the entranceway to office buildings it’s the cause of pavlovian groans (Christ! Here I am again at this hell-hole). As metaphoric short-hand it’s a stand-in for conflicts-of-interest, matters of ethical oversight, and corruption. Like snapshots from your last colonoscopy, or a multi-million dollar Damien Hirst painting, the images conjured aint pretty. The revolving door has, of course, not always been saddled with such negative connotations. There was a time, not so very long ago, when it was a shining symbol of modern man’s ingenuity- evidence of an energized drive toward the future. Yet surprisingly, even in the glow of the revolving door’s youth, when it was being enthusiastically installed in buildings the world over, few people were aware of its true origins.

01.10. filed under: history. lies. people. 5

Gaikotsu’s Postcards

Or: Aitch’s Pick

This post comes to us, not from the usual source, namely my own expeditions of internet spelunking, but rather from an altogether more novel source- a friend of mine by the name of Mr. H. Most of you will remember Aitch fondly from his revered and only recently shuttered blog Giornale Nuovo. Well, it so happens that Aitch came across some images which he felt needed to be shared with the populace at large. He went ahead and crafted a post, leaving it here on The Nonist’s doorstep like a beautiful and cooing orphaned baby. Who am I, and indeed who are you, to do anything but embrace it lovingly?

So, without further interuption from me, here is Mr. H’s post on journalist Miyatake Gaikotsu and his collection of humorous and often obscure early 20th century postcards-

01.06. filed under: design. history. people. 15

In 1846 Dr. Andrew Comstock, proprietor of one of the oldest commercial language schools in America, called Dr. Comstock’s Vocal Gymnasium and Polyglot Institute, published his Treatise on Phonology. In 2008 I came across it on google books and, reading its simultaneously bitchy and braggadocios full title– A Treatise on Phonology: Comprising a Prefect Alphabet for the English Language; a Specimen Exhibition of the Absurdities of Our Present System of Orthography, I laughed. Reason enough to whip-up a quick post, so far as I’m concerned.

01.05. filed under: books. history. ideas. people. play. 3

Everyone loves Saul Bass. It’s a deserved love. He’s a design giant and designers pay the respect due. But even those amongst us who don’t get hot under the collar for fonts and logo treatments love him, whether they know his name or not. They love his his incredible title sequences for films like The Man with the Golden Arm, Vertigo, and Anatomy of a Murder. I recently came across some commercial work he’d done for television in the 50’s, and upon doing some google-sniffing to search out more information, was surprised to find none of it was already represented on the web. With that in mind please consider the following images my small contribution to the digital remembrance of all things Bass.

01.01. filed under: design. film. history. people.

Minotaure (1933 - 1939)

In 1933 Albert Skira, a young publisher of elegant art books, released the first two issues of a periodical which, though it would only last for 6 years, remains to this day one of the most impressive publications of its kind ever produced. It was called Minotaure and the reasons it is damned near legendary are simple– lavish production values of a quality unseen previously, and contributors who, from the editors to the essayists to the artists, went on to storm the hallowed annals of history.

12.01. filed under: art. history. people. 9

Quote: “The Chinese philosopher Zhang Hêng invented the earliest known seismoscope in 132 A.D. The instrument was said to resemble a wine jar of diameter six feet. On the outside of the vessel there were eight dragon-heads, facing the eight principal directions of the compass. Below each of the dragon-heads was a toad, with its mouth opened toward the dragon. The mouth of each dragon held a ball. At the occurrence of an earthquake, one of the eight dragon-mouths would release a ball into the open mouth of the toad situated below. The direction of the shaking determined which of the dragons released its ball. The instrument is reported to have detected a four-hundred-mile distant earthquake which was not felt at the location of the seismoscope.” Neat.

11.30. filed under: history. people. science.

Oom the Omnipotent

Wily con man, athlete, bank president, magician, automobile collector, investor in sport franchises, faker of his own death, builder of airports, proponent of sex magic, self described religious scholar / doctor / first american primate / yogi, and in 1905 founder of the first Tantrik Order in America. This is Pierre Arnold Bernard, better known in the press, by the authorities, and by his followers as Oom the Omnipotent. Interesting character. More here, here, here, here, and here.

11.25. filed under: history. people.

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